#REALLY Rand Paul? The more states that have made abortion illegal, the better?
Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433
Washington, DC – When asked about his stance on abortion on the GOP debate stage tonight, Rand Paul referenced his harmful bill, the Life at Conception Act, an extreme piece of legislation which he has repeatedly introduced in the Senate. His bill, or so-called “personhood” legislation, could interfere with personal, private medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion. Tonight, Paul also stated that “the more states that we had that made abortion illegal, the better” — affirming he would take the country back to a time when women weren’t guaranteed access to safe, legal abortion.
Rand Paul: “I think abortion is always wrong. I've supported a variety of solutions. Both state as well as federal. In fact, just last week, I introduced the Life at Conception Act, which would say that the 14th Amendment would defend an individual even in the womb.”
Rand Paul: “The more states that we had that made abortion illegal, the better.”
Rand Paul would take women back to a time without access to safe, legal abortion. What did the country look like the last time that was the case?
“Because abortion was illegal, I had to turn to an underground abortion provider. I was told to meet at a location in downtown Chicago. When I got there, I was blindfolded and driven to an undisclosed location. I was incredibly scared....No woman should have to go through [what I experienced].”
Rand Paul’s harmful bill could interfere with personal, private medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion. And just restricting access to abortion in states has had devastating consequences for women across America — Paul’s vision for states making abortion flat-out illegal could have unforetold consequences that we haven’t seen since before Roe v. Wade.
FACT: Rand Paul wants to ban abortion, and has said he would “take all approaches” to prohibiting it: In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Rand Paul said he would, “take all approaches, state, local and federal to try to prohibit abortion,” because he does not want any abortions to be allowed in the United States. In 2010, he received the Kentucky Right to Life endorsement based on his view that there should be no exceptions for abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. [The O’Reilly Factor, 5/19/10;Northern Kentucky Right to Life Questionnaire, 2010]
FACT: Rand Paul has a long history of advocating for extreme so-called “personhood” legislation in the Senate:
2011 was the first time Senator Paul co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, or so called “personhood” legislation, which could interfere with personal, private medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion. Paul made a video on behalf of the National Pro-Life Alliance, asking for donations. In the video he said that his co-sponsorship of the personhood legislation was in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, and end abortion once and for all. [YouTube, 5/10/12]
The second time Senator Paul supported personhood was in a controversial amendment to a bill that would have financially boosted the National Flood Insurance Program. The bill was set to be voted on right at the beginning of hurricane season, and had been expected to pass easily before the amendment was introduced. However, after the extreme amendment was proposed, a vote on the bill was postponed. When asked why he introduced the personhood amendment to the flood bill, Paul told a reporter that he was “just trying to get a vote for the people who elected me.” [Talking Points Memo, 6/27/12]
In 2013, when Senator Paul himself introduced personhood legislation, he made it clear that it was his intention to uphold the legislation at all costs. When asked about whether his anti-abortion position — as clearly demonstrated in the introduction of such extreme legislation — allows for any exceptions in cases of rape and incest, Paul said “there are thousands of exceptions.” When pushed further for a clear answer, his response was, “I don’t know if there’s a simple way to put me in a category on any of that.” Paul’s chief of staff later clarified that Paul was referring to the singular exception to save the life of a woman, which could have thousands of medically related exceptions. Paul’s bill has dangerous implications for women and puts him at odds with voters across the country who when faced with extreme personhood measures on the ballot, have overwhelming rejected them, most recently in Colorado and North Dakota. [Talking Points Memo, 3/19/13;lifesitenews, 3/21/13,S. 583, 3/14/13]
FACT: Restricting Access to Abortion in Texas has seen Devastating Impact to Women
In Texas, we are seeing a disturbing reality for Texas women that is reminiscent of life before Roe v Wade. In the Texas case before the Supreme Court, these restrictions threaten to leave the 5.4 million Texas women of reproductive age with only 10 health centers that provide safe, legal abortion in the entire state — down from approximately 40 health centers when this law passed. Women are traveling hundreds of miles, crossing state lines, and waiting weeks to get an abortion, if they can at all.
We are seeing the very real impact these restrictions have on women, and it's deeply disturbing.In fact, researchers found that some women are already waiting as long as 20 days to access abortion in Texas. And the situation for women could get even worse.
If the Supreme Court allows all of the 2013 restrictions to go into full effect, the 5.4 million women of reproductive age in Texas will be left with only 10 health centers that provide safe, legal abortion in the entire state — down from approximately 40 health centers before passage of this dangerous law.
Researchers estimate that wait times at the remaining 10 health centers would increase dramatically, forcing longer delays that double the percentage of abortions in the second trimester.
While abortion is an extremely safe procedure, it is safest earlier in pregnancy. These restrictions would force many women to undergo a more invasive procedure later in pregnancy, for political—and not medical—reasons
FACT: Majority of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion.
A recent Bloomberg Politics national poll found that 67% of Americans surveyed said Supreme Court was right to rule that women have a constitutional right to abortion and agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
64 percent of voters younger than 30 said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 58% of voters 30 and older. [Pew Research Center, 11/26/12]
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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.